We alternate Christmas and New Year in the Castle, so this Christmas we are in Cornwall leaving Highclere for a few days safely in the hands of the home team. They may well patrol the corridors and galleries rather like the footman, Barrow, in Downton Abbey. Around the Castle grounds they have found a number of tree limbs down and ducks swimming in ponds in the middle of the fields in the Park. Some shutters have forced open the windows due to the strength of the December winds, but we have been lucky, unlike so many people living in some parts of southern England coping with flood waters and no electricity. On Christmas Day the last Downton Abbey of the year charmed and enthralled over 7 million viewers with more yet to enjoy it later. I hope it will similarly amuse its USA fan club next year.
I have spent many holidays in Cornwall, with wet and windy walks along grey clifftops, the churning seas pounding relentlessly below, the great outcrop of King Arthur’s Tintagel in the distance. My parents loved this ancient and more remote part of England, they brought us here ever since I can remember. Nanny is here too and she has been part of my family since I was five years old. She stayed to look after my sisters and then simply stayed on. She, however, refrains from walks and was later to be found happily snoozing back to to front in her bed before returning to knitting and looking for appreciation of her Christmas Cake, which was as ever very good indeed.
It has been a special time spending time with family, not on any schedule, reading and playing hilarious football games between us all.